Rules

Secret ingredients to quality software

Edit
Info

Do you know when to send tasks one email at a time?

Last updated by Landonmaxwell on 25 Mar 2021 06:01 am (about 2 months ago) See History

Do you sometimes find that people don't follow all the items you have listed in a long and carefully drafted email?

Make it easier for everyone by sending unrelated (independent) tasks one email at a time. Also, don't forget to make your requests very clear. With separate emails, When a person has completed a specific task they just have to reply "Done" to that email, delete it, then move on to the next task.

Breaking up unrelated tasks

If you have a list of things to be done, have a second look, you may find that your requests are not directly related (don't depend on each other OR are not to be done in the same environment). In this case, it is better to break it up and send separate emails.

Grouping related tasks

As per the examples above, if you are requesting many smaller tasks under the same topic, you should group them in the same email. In this case, number each task that you wish to be completed.

Figure: Bad Example - One email for multiple unrelated tasks (Domains and CSS)

Figure: Good Example - Separate emails for unrelated tasks. A few related tasks in the same email

Breaking up monster tasks

If you have a very large task that requires days of work, it is also better to break it up and send separate emails. So that big task "Boil the Ocean" would become several emails with consistent subjects:

  • "Boil the Ocean #1",
  • "Boil the Ocean #2",
  • "Boil the Ocean #3" etc.

The advantages are that you get an email history for specific parts, making it easier to include someone else and follow up.

Figure: Bad Example - One email for multiple separate tasks

Figure: Good Example - Separate emails for separate tasks

TODO: Make grey boxes with clear separated emails - change from IIS to Git Repo + will become 3 emails

Replying 'dones'

When replying to emails, always reply to each email individually. Don't consolidate them all into one as it leaves unfinished email threads.

Read Do you reply 'Done' and delete the original email? to see the best ways to reply "Dones".

Adam CoganAdam Cogan
Cameron ShawCameron Shaw
Tiago AraujoTiago Araujo

We open source. This page is on GitHub